Last night at Kung Fu Necktie, local electro-rockers Revolution I Love You welcomed Knoxville’s Hudson K in style. Opening act Solus Rex brought a solid crowd over from New Jersey, kicking things off with their unique blend of dance-oriented indie rock and jazz. As usual of late, they played a few new songs from their forthcoming EP, dedicating the midtempo grooves of “Sleepwalker” to their friends in The Great Socio, who were enthusiastically dancing and singing along throughout the set. While frontman Colin Newell’s voice was clearly audible from blocks away, inside the venue it was the Raven’s lead guitar that came to the fore, screaming solos and artful atmospherics lending themselves to various shoegaze comparisons. Fitting themselves into the night nicely, their set skewed toward a new wave sound, carefully selected from their growing catalog. The new material seems more synth-heavy, and makes them better-suited to a show with two synthpop acts than they would have been last year. It’s an interesting direction, and one that captures the current of independent music at the moment. You can see if that direction continues at Bourbon & Branch on the 24th.
Stripping the stage down from Solus Rex’s crowded five-piece setup to just a drummer and a frontwoman, Hudson K may have decreased the volume, but they doubled down on the grooves. Christina Horn wielded an arsenal of synthesizers with aplomb, tweaking parameters in both hardware and software while laying down both bass and leads, singing, and still managing to occasionally rock out on keytar. She rocked so hard, in fact, that her strap broke, a setback that failed to discomfit her in the slightest. Continuing on with more emphasis on the gear arrayed behind her in a semi-circle, she and drummer Nate Barrett pummeled the crowd with undeniable beats. All this emphasis on instrumentation cannot detract from the rest of Horn’s performance, however. She was a wild woman on stage, dancing with infectious enthusiasm and alternating between passionate wailing and insistent murmuring as each song demanded. When joined on-stage by an impressive guest guitarist from Lancaster, she even managed to shred along on keytar in the classic dueling pose, sans strap. With vinyl, CDs, and t-shirts on hand for sale, I hope their tour is financially successful enough to justify a return trip. Regardless, you can catch them tomorrow night at The Space in Hamden, CT.
Revolution I Love You’s dual guitars, synthesizers, and propulsive drumming aptly followed Hudson K’s performance, cranking up the intensity with both Rob Lindgren and Jason Reynolds taking Horn’s role. Having relocated from Delaware in 2010 after a couple years, the addition of a live drummer helps keep the focus on dancing, with pounding electronic beats coming from the laptops and controllers both kept strewn around them effectively accented by the addition of live fills and improvisation. The overall effect is reminiscent of Joy Division and New Order, still firmly based in rock but with sights set squarely on the dancefloor. While selling limited merchandise, they offer all of their music for free download on Bandcamp, an option they encouraged all audience members to explore. You can catch them on the Brooklyn route of the New York City Marathon November 2nd, at 1984 in Wilmington, DE the 7th, and at The Delancey in NYC on the 20th.
By Dave Fox | Philadelphia Ambassador | @philosofoxthedj | Beat-Play and Music Without Labels, LLC